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Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Judging by my own relatives, it appears that as you get older it is harder to follow the language of younger people. And, not just because of hearing loss. Kids invent their own words, or they borrow the phrases they hear from friends or in favourite songs or films. I guess we did too in our younger days. But, to be honest, as of late, I was finding it hard to understand conversations in my own house, let alone at the School.

I thought it would be a good distraction if I provided a list of some of the terms that are used these days by the younger generation. (Instead of focussing on the new adult language of the pandemic with words and expressions such as pivot, flatten the curve, N95, emergency brakes and assorted others.)

This short guide will enable you to better understand your kids and their friends. Warning: Do not use these terms yourself. Timing, inflection and emphasis are critical and age makes it very “uncool” to insert these into conversation.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2021

In the history of humankind there have been a host of world-changing and life-changing events. Some took place over time; some were immediate. With the light at the end of the tunnel offered by ramping up vaccine programs, recent conversations have turned to how the pandemic will change our lives going forward.

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Thursday, March 25, 2021

Seriously, have you ever wanted spring more?!

Longer, warmer days. The heat of the sun. You don’t even need to move; just being in the presence of the sights, sounds and smells of the most promising of the four seasons is enough.

Spring is change. The dormancy of winter foliage and fauna transitioning into life, growth and hope. Surely, we all prefer green rather than brown. Warmth over cold. Outside rather than inside. Bright colours and light over the dullness of monochrome and darkness.

Even the word “spring” brings to mind a jump, a bounce, a trampoline, a catapult. To “spring into action!” Leaving a present state and propelling into a future state. And, boy, do we want to leave the present state of affairs impacting our planet and community!

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Wednesday, March 17, 2021

As we are all aware, last week marked the one-year anniversary of COVID-19. Among an ocean of loneliness, loss, isolation and inactivity being marked for millions around the world, I forced myself to at least be grateful for the benefits technology has afforded families to remain connected. For my family, technology allowed us to order online groceries to be delivered to my elderly parents who live 300 kilometres away in Ottawa; have a face-to-face Zoom call with our daughter who is in Halifax, 1,700 kilometres away; text relatives in the U.K., 5,500 kilometres away. Here at TCS, I was able to speak to the entire student body online on Monday, including those around the world who are part of our TCS Connect program. And then I was able to speak to all the educational staff, again on a Zoom call, on Wednesday morning.

However, the truth is: I have a love-hate-love relationship with technology.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2021

The Gutenberg printing press is widely recognized as one of the greatest inventions of humankind. In short, the printing press enabled humans to share large amounts of information with a large amount of people. For adults reading this blog post, you will know that print materials were the primary source of information growing up and for centuries before you.

Not today.

Approximately 18 months ago, I asked the entire Senior School student body how many people had read the newspaper that morning. Not a single hand was raised. “Ugh,” I thought to myself at the time. Fifty years ago, at least 50 hands would have been raised. After all, newspapers were delivered to dorm rooms before the sun rose.

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Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Like most parents and people in positions of responsibility, I have a very strong inclination, personally and professionally, towards searching for the positive. And I extend and encourage this thinking to kids: both my own kids and the students of TCS. You could say that I am a “glass half full” kind of guy; I like to recognize the learnings that can come out of adversity. Hence, I also believe that positivity and optimism breed more of the same – even during a pandemic.

This proclivity towards “searching for the positive during the negative” has prompted me to look for further information and research on, for example, the resiliency of children during or after natural disasters and traumatic global events like war. Some available insights can also be gleaned from our parents or grandparents who may have some experience, as children, in managing economic recessions or depressions, wars, now eradicated illnesses, and significant world events. How did they do it?

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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

One of the more interesting features of the last 12 months has been the increase in “city folk” interested in “country living.” This can be measured, in part, by a surge in real estate sales and prices. Within a three-hour radius of Toronto, in particular, demand is up and housing and cottage prices having increased by approximately 30% in the Kawartha Lakes, Quinte and Simcoe Districts. Apparently even house sales in the four provinces that make up our east coast (Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island) have increased between 9% and 15%.

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Thursday, February 18, 2021

The recent postponement of the March Break holiday for schools in Ontario was based on the provincial effort to better contain the global pandemic and the evolving COVID-19 variants. While the rationale for delaying the holiday is generally understood and respected, for students, it was the most recent twist in dealing with a seemingly comprehensive restriction on their adolescent lives. Parents, teachers, grandparents were disappointed, too.

But when and how did the March Break become entrenched in our lives?

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Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Twelve months ago, I stopped watching U.S. televised news. I am on the verge of taking the same approach with the Canadian news that streams through my TV. For extended periods of time now, in both countries, there has been what seems to be a singular focus on the vast majority of network news reports. In the U.S. it was about the election and the former president’s actions; in Canada, it is keenly focussed on our country’s efforts with respect to the acquisition and distribution of vaccines to deal with COVID-19.

Of course, both issues are of monumental significance in and to their respective countries. But, to me, every day it felt like a new crisis on the same issue. Every day, there is something else to worry about. Someone else to blame. All negative. Frankly, I began to find it demoralizing. And, I know others did too, but many kept watching. And, inevitably, we all just kept talking about it.

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Wednesday, February 03, 2021

I don’t think as many people keep diaries these days. Yes, we are taking (and posting online!) more pictures and videos. We take our kids’ kindergarten art and post it on our fridge, and eventually keep it in a memory box, perhaps. But, the art of documenting personal thoughts into a diary appears to be gone. And, we do this at our own peril.

Apparently our ability to retain accurate moments in our life is short-lived. And, that is not just due to age. While exact figures do not exist, the human brain is said to only keep four things in mind at once for up to 30 seconds. Phone numbers tend to be seven digits long because apparently eight digits puts us over the edge of recall.

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